The twelfth grade of the Saarbrücken Waldorf School reports...
About three years ago, one of our students had the idea that we could support a child in Africa. Quickly the class agreed that this was a wonderful idea. After reading some brochures, our teacher took over the organizational part and contacted the Friends of Waldorf Education.
After some time we then received information about the possibility to sponsor a godchild at the Hekima Waldorf School in Tanzania. We all agreed that we would not only send money but also wanted to have regular contact with our goddaughter Hope. However, as we unfortunately do not speak the same language, we were very pleased that in her village and her school there were volunteers from Germany, with whom we were able to write regularly. We sent Hope pictures from our class a couple of times, so that she knew who was supporting her and we were always very happy when we received a photo or a painting from her. At Christmas, which Hope does not celebrate in the same way, and for her birthdays, we always sent a little something.
Although Hope lives very far away from us, she is always with us. On the one hand, in our hearts, on the other hand, she has taken up a lot of space on our pin board with photos and drawings!
We learned a lot about Hope's living conditions and family problems. In such moments, it became very quiet in our class. We then realized how much poverty there is in the world and that we should be very thankful for the kind of life that we can live here in Europe.
When our school time slowly came to an end, the sponsorship of Hope was at stake. However, we had taken her into our hearts and we wanted to continue to enable her to enjoy her present life in which she is very happy and totally flourishes. We therefore decided to continue the sponsorship. We hope that through good email communication we can continue to be able to follow Hope's growth, educational progress and experiences and we simply wish her a happy life.
Many sponsored classes and children and their sponsors maintain an intensive mail or e-mail contact and as a result often a wonderful friendship develops. Here are some examples...
I would like to thank you for everything. I have school and I am so happy at school. I am doing good and improving my reading. You have done a lot for me especially with my fees. I have gained wisdom and experience from teachers who had taught me. I owe it to you that I’m so matured and experienced. Thank you and send regards to your family.
Hermanus Waldorf School in South Africa
on behalf of class six, I wish to thank you very much for supporting our school. Our class has been lerning about Ancient Greece. So far we have recalled most of the other lessons, like mathematics, English, Agriculture and Kiswahli. The weather in Kenya is warm and windy. It is good weather to start the year in school. We all love school. Thank you again, for supporting us.
Rudolf Steiner School Mbagathi in Kenya
From each school, there will be one person who agrees to taking care of the contact to the sponsors themselves and to the sponsorship coordination team at the Friends of Waldorf pedagogy. At Hermanus Waldorf School it is Ninky Matthee who introduces herself here:
I am Ninky Matthee, the fundraiser for the Hermanus Waldorf School. My background is in publishing, but I started teaching when my own children were small. I have been at the school for 18 years, starting off as a helper in the Kindergarten, then teaching Afrikaans and finally ended up in the office. The school was still quite small then and I managed the office on my own, doing the finances, administration, fundraising etc. As the school grew and the numbers increased, we managed to employ a dedicated bursar to do the finances, and eventually an administrator for all the administrative duties, and I could concentrate on fundraising. I have had the privilege of dealing with the sponsors all these years, and this one of the highlights of the job for me. Making profiles of the children, I have “interviews” with them, getting more information about each individual child and his or her background. I discover all kinds of interesting facts about the children in this way, some of it heart wrenching. It is wonderful to see how the children thrive when they realize their sponsor is interested in their lives and concerned about their well-being and progress. Hearing from the sponsors that they appreciate the reports and drawings of the children is also very rewarding. However, the job does not come without its challenges. Getting the teachers on board is not always easy, as they have their own agenda - work that has to be completed, and often I have to ask a few times to get sponsored children’s letters or drawings. New teachers also need to be briefed from scratch about the sponsorship program. Deadlines are often ignored, especially at the end of the school year, when everyone is busy, writing reports, organizing end of year festivals, and my patience is often tested at this point! All in all, though I love doing what I am doing and the school is very grateful to such caring individuals from all over the world who support the work we do in such a wonderful way. It is wonderful to see the children thrive.
The Friends of Waldorf Education have been organizing educational sponsorships since 1998. In 2012, Fabian Michel took over the task of coordinating the educational sponsorships: „It is a cause close to my heart that no Waldorf school in the world should be an ‚alternative private school‘ for the ‚rich and famous‘; that is certainly a very high personal standard,“ he describes his motivation for his work and continues: „Every child has the right to a healthy upbringing, regardless of the parents‘ financial situation!“ Fabian Michel works very closely with the schools.